A cyber hacker who attempted to blackmail Halifax bank into giving him 2,800 Bitcoins – worth more than £1m – is facing a jail sentence today.
Lewys Martin had threatened the bank with releasing the details of 28,000 account holders to The Sun, and demanded one Bitcoin for every 10 sets of details he held, equivalent to £1,050,000 by today's exchange rate.
The 22-year-old used phishing programmes, which enabled him to appear as a trustworthy entity, to steal data directly from the bank's customers. Lloyds Banking Group and The Sun reported the matter to the police, who managed to trace Martin despite him using specialised software to shield his IP address.
The case was heard at Southwark Crown Court this autumn, with Martin pleading guilty to blackmail and two counts of possession of articles for use in fraud, and a sentence is expected to be handed down today.
He had previously received a two-year sentence for cyber attacks on the websites of Oxford and Cambridge universities. Court News UK reports that he issued his demands to Halifax just days before starting that jail term.